LAMPASAS, Texas – During March our nation celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring females’ contributions, while also recognizing the adversity they have overcome. For female Soldiers in the 1st Cavalry Division, special recognition was given for mothers in combat boots whose sacrifices are often overlooked.
More than 30 female Soldiers with the 1st Cav. Div. attended the first Moms in Combat Boots training at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, Texas, March 8. The training focused on Troops with children who have at least two prior deployments.
During the training soldiers interacted with and observed several horses on the ranch, while learning skills in addressing child and parent attachments, guilt, and shame resilience, to better help them face the challenges of mothering while in the military.
“This small group teaching will help soldiers deal with the trauma of having to leave their children during a deployment,” said Sgt. Jessica Covello, chaplain assistant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and San Antonio native. “Today is an open forum and dialogue for mothers to learn and exchange coping mechanisms.”
The goal was for female soldiers to self assess their current situations through activities designed to reflect real-life issues, as well as discover those that are more effective for healthy living, she said.
“The reason we chose this group of soldiers is because they’re often overlooked,” Covello said. “We wanted to get away from the normal, standard PowerPoint training and do something different and fresh. This interactive training will assist by helping these mothers identify with each other in a small group setting to help remove their feelings of isolation and fear.”
Ever since the center’s beginning more than a decade ago, it has gone on to help soldiers and civilians learn and develop strengthening skills, said Joanna Tyson, TCRWC owner.
“My father Gene Tyson, a retired Army chaplain, opened the door here 12 years ago for Soldiers. Since my father passed in December of last year, it’s been difficult for me; however I continue to serve my father’s family of 20 years,” Tyson said.
“The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps brings me joy, hope, and comfort. I’m very excited to carry on my father’s vision of serving our soldiers, as well as the members of our community.”
Tyson said the Moms in Combat Boots small group teaching was the first time anyone had ever hosted training specifically for this demographic.
“I pitched the idea to III Corps, and they were awarded a special grant from the Chief of Chaplains Office to hold this training,” Tyson explained. “This is the first training geared towards female soldiers with children and multiple deployments that I have ever heard of. I hope the success of this event allows it to reoccur, as I feel it’s very important.”
Spc. Sarah Cox, an automated logistical specialist with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB and Corona, Calif. native, attended the event and said although she’s getting out soon, she will still take away many of the lessons learned during the training.
“It was nice to hear how other moms deal with having kids in the military,” said Cox, a mother of two. “Learning different ways to deal with stress was great, and it was nice to get new ideas on how to explain to children that mommy is leaving for a deployment. I would definitely recommend this for any mother who puts on combat boots for a living.”